There comes a time when the winter blues really starts to set in – and unfortunately, it’s right about now! With Thanksgiving done, we have a period before Christmas when the temperature drops and the days get shorter, leaving us feeling a little down and in need of some good old fashioned comfort food. If there’s ever a time to indulge in a little comfort eating it’s right now, and here at NetCost Market, we’ve got some great winter recipes to help you hang in there and keep those evil winter blues away!
British Bacon and Onion Hotpot
This dish comes courtesy of our neighbors across the Atlantic who like us, know a thing or two about how harsh a winter can really be! This comforting dish is super easy and is perfect for when a strong blizzard is preventing you from leaving the house!
You will need: 2 lbs potatoes, 2 tbsp butter, 8 rashers good quality bacon, 2 large onions (finely chopped), 3 cloves garlic (finely chopped), 600ml vegetable or chicken stock, 1 cup grated cheddar, a handful of chives (chopped).
How to make:
- Turn your oven to 375 F.
- Thinly slice the potatoes (about 3mm thick) and set to one side.
- Heat the butter in a skillet and fry the bacon, adding the onions once the bacon begins to lose its fat. Once the onions are caramelized, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- In a deep baking dish, assemble the hotpot. Start by placing a layer of potatoes at the bottom, followed by a thin layer of the bacon and onion mixture. Keep repeating the layers until you have no mixture left and there is a layer of potatoes covering the top of the dish.
- Pour the hot stock over the hotpot until you can just see the liquid rising up. Place in the oven for 45 minutes, checking after 30 minutes to see if more stock is needed. Once the potatoes are soft, add the cheese and cook for a further 15 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling.
Easy Chicken Soup
A good old chicken soup is not only for when you’re ill, it’s also a great pick-me-up when the weather’s getting you down! What’s more, it keeps in the refrigerator well and is often better a day or two after being made, meaning it’s perfect for an extra boost of comfort during your lunch break at work.
You will need: 1 whole chicken, 4 carrots and 4 celery sticks (both chopped in half), 1 large onion (chopped in half), 1 tsp chicken bouillon, 1 tsp thyme, salt and pepper to taste.
How to make:
- Put all the ingredients into a pot and fill with cold water until the chicken is covered.
- Heat and simmer until the chicken meat begins to fall off the bone very easily (about 1 hour or so).
- Take everything out of the pot, keeping the broth in there. Pick the meat off the bones and chop the carrots, celery, and onion. Add all the ingredients back to the broth; allow to simmer for 5 minutes and season to taste. Serve hot!
Roasted Vegetable Pasta Bake
Comfort food doesn’t always need to include meat, and if you’re following a vegetarian diet or simply want to take a break from being a carnivore, this dish will deliver that comforting feeling you need to stave off the winter blues just as well as any other comfort meal!
You will need: 2 tbsp vegetable oil, 500g vegetables cut into chunks (bell pepper, eggplant, sweet potato, zucchini, squash), ¾ cup red wine, 1 ½ cups vegetable stock, ½ cup tomato paste, 1 can chopped tomatoes, 1 tbsp dried oregano, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp brown sugar, 300g cooked penne pasta, 1 ½ tbsp butter, 1 ½ tbsp plain flour, 250ml milk, 1 ½ cups grated cheddar, ½ cup grated parmesan, salt and pepper to taste.
How to make:
- Preheat your oven to 430F.
- Place the vegetables in a roasting pan, drizzle over some vegetable oil and toss them together. Roast the vegetable for 20 minutes.
- In a skillet, whisk together the wine, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, oregano, vinegar, brown sugar. Heat them on a medium heat for 20 minutes.
- Next, stir the roasted vegetables into the sauce and season with salt and pepper.
- In a separate pan, melt some butter, stir in the flour and stock – whisking until all the lumps are out. Add the milk and cook without boiling until the sauce thickens up. Add the cheeses and season with some salt and pepper.
- Fold the cooked pasta into the vegetable sauce and pour the contents into a baking dish. Pour over the cheese sauce and sprinkle with a little extra cheddar. Grill the top of the bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is golden brown.